Tips for a stress-free British BBQ: keep it simple; keep it light; keep it relaxed
When the weather is sunny and we’re sizzling like sausages, then it’s BBQ party time! Is there anything nicer than lazing in the garden while the honey-and-herb chicken (recipe below) gently grills and the birds sweetly chirp overhead? The traditional British barbecue is beloved by all – young, old and in-between. Here are my top tips to make it low(ish)-stress and (relatively) easy…
What to eat? Keep it simple
Barbecues look fun and effortless. They are not. Barbecues are fiddly. There is a lot to do. When you spot that heatwave on the horizon and hear the clamours of ‘let’s have a BBQ!’ it will be so much easier if you’re already stocked up. There are some fantastic BBQ meatboxes available to order from local organic or free-range farms. Keep the freezer filled with ice, chopped herbs and puddings, and your larder stashed with sauces, mayonnaise and mustard. All you will need to buy on the day is bread and salad. Don’t attempt too many hot dishes - unless you’re sure you can handle it. A couple of main dishes - with dips, bread, salad and olives - will be fabulous. I’ve included one of my favourite recipes below for you – simple but absolutely delicious. For great tips on BBQing meat to perfection, I’d recommend checking out Field and Flower’s detailed checklist.
What to drink? Keep it light
Jugs of iced water, flavoured with cucumber, thinly sliced lemon, and a scattering of thyme and mint, look beautiful and will keep everyone refreshed. Choose your favourite wine – I like something light and fruity for alfresco dining and, to make things easy, have a selection of options delivered to the door by the lovely people at Smashing Wines. They've let me know their top wine choices for a summer BBQ party too.
Smashing Wines for a BBQ ...
Kick your BBQ off with a bit of fizz - Cremant de Loire will get the party started!
Then the all time favourite BBQ wine at Smashing Wines is the Chateau Massereau, Clairet. This is a light red, served chilled, and pairs perfectly with barbecued food - it's often called the red-wine-lovers' rosé!
When the sun is out who doesn’t love a rosé? Smashing Wines recommend this organic Argentinian rose at the moment, it's light and dry, and perfect on a summer’s day.
For the steak lovers it always has to be a Malbec!
If you’d like to up your barbecuing credentials, try this Smoky Peach and Rosemary Bourbon Spritz - but I’d opt for the stress-free option and set-up a do-it-yourself G&T corner. Don’t forget some alcohol-free cocktails too. So many fabulous choices these days!
What to sit on? Keep it relaxed (… and easy to clean!)
Whilst the beauty of alfresco dining is the informality, the BBQ-balancing-act of plate in one hand and glass in the other, is to be avoided. With outdoor bean bag chairs, seating is relaxed but seriously comfortable. Being light and portable (Armadillo Sun bean bags come with a handy strap too) you can follow the sun, or the conversation, around the garden.
Because of its tough, fade- and weather-proof fabric, Armadillo Sun beanbag furniture can live outside all summer long. This is an absolute boon when you want to throw together a barbecue: one less thing to worry about when you can’t remember where you put the skewers or have run out of charcoal. Plus, if it starts to rain, the garden furniture is not a concern – it’s all weatherproof. Then when the sun, fingers crossed, comes out again it dries fast, so you’ll be able to pick the party up where it left off without getting soggy!
Our modular garden sofa is perfect for informal dining. Each sofa chair features clever D-ring connectors which link the pieces together in various permutations to perfectly accommodate your guests. The corner chairs lend themselves to sociable nooks for in-depth chatting, and the ottoman makes a perfect tray for drinks or condiments. Being wipe clean and stain resistant, there’s no worrying about drinks, sauces and salad dressings – they will simply wipe off. Leaving you to quickly arrange the furniture into a chaise longue for a postprandial snooze!
What are your best ideas for a fun and stress-free BBQ party? Please let me know and, in the meantime, try out my favourite alfresco chicken recipe below.
BBQ butterflied chicken with honey and herbs
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp honey
Rosemary sprigs, to garnish
Place the chicken on a chopping board, with the backbone facing up. Butterfly the chicken by inserting a heavy, sharp knife into the cavity and cut down the backbone. Open up the chicken with the skin-side down. Flatten out the breastbone. Cut the backbone from the chicken. Remove the ribs from the flesh.
Place the chicken skin-side up in a pan just large enough to hold it.
Combine the marinade ingredients in a mini blender and pour over the chicken. Cover and marinate for at least two hours in the fridge, turning over once.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Barbecue on a hot plate on medium heat, skin-side up, for about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over, cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until cooked through, or the internal temperature is 74°C. Remove to a serving plate. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before carving. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.
Armadillo Sun are specialists in outdoor bean bag furniture. Our pieces are carefully designed to blend style with durability and are so much more versatile than traditional garden furniture!